Austin Kearns had been rumored to be headed out of Cincinnati for some time now and it finally happened on Thursday as the Reds shipped him to Washington in an eight player deal. The deal adds offense to the Nationals' lineup and bullpen and defensive help to the Reds.
Washington gets slugging outfielder Austin Kearns, shortstop Felipe Lopez and reliever Ryan Wagner in exchange for relievers Gary Majewski and Bill Bray, shortstop Royce Clayton, infielder Brendan Harris and minor league pitcher Daryl Thompson.
Kearns and Lopez will add much needed punch to the Nationals' offense. Kearns, 26, is hitting .274 with 16 homeruns this season in Cincinnati and Lopez was hitting .268 with 9 homeruns in a Reds' uniform. The addition of Kearns gives the Nationals more flexibility to deal Alfonso Soriano and/or Jose Guillen, who have both been rumored to be headed out of town. Lopez will fill the spot vacated by Clayton. Lopez adds offense, but is a step down defensively from the steady Clayton.
The Nationals gave up two relievers who will work as setup men for Eddie Guardado in Cincinnati. Some observers believe that Majewski could wind up stealing the closer's job if the newly acquired Guardado stumbles. The Nationals replace Majewski with Wagner, who was a first round pick in the 2003 Draft, but has stumbled as a major leaguer.
Harris had been shuttled between Washington and AAA New Orleans all season. Thompson was pitching at Class-A Vermont and was 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in four starts with the Lake Monsters.